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Illuminating the Wake (visual art)

Clinton Cahill
Publication/Performance Date: 


Welcome to ‘Illuminating the Wake’ where I get to share my personal approach to readingFinnegans Wake, a process of ‘reading-through-drawing’. Like many Wake readers, as I work my way through the book I habitually add my own annotations. These scrawled notes usually represent immediate responses to what I find in the text, rather than scholarly references. I think its important for readers to value their unmediated thoughts and not be too concerned about what other commentaries indicate should be found in the text. Some contextual reading is useful to get started, but Finnegans Wake is after all a book, capable of being picked up and read for its own attributes and pleasures. Granted, it takes some effort to get used to, but it does signal to the patient reader how it wants to be read.  My approach involves synthesising points from my annotations into a sketchbook and then making rapid pictorial notations of what the words of the text suggest to my imagination at the point of reading. I have been doing this in the hope of capturing something of the direct imaginative experience and visuality of this extraordinary book.

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